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Robert Page's 35 Sqn. album - page 1
Album Page # 2
Main flying boat page

Robert Page was living at Cathcart in the Cape province and volunteered for the SAAF aged 19 in 1943??. He trained as a pupil pilot, navigator and gunner at Lyttleton, Kroonstad, Potchefstroom, Wingfield in Cape Town, and Port Alfred.

He was in Port Alfred when he heard of his Durban posting and later flew to Durban, where he trained on Sunderland flying boats. He was then posted to Lake Umsimgazi for a period. Activities included training, maintenance, target shooting and coastal patrols from Europa Island in the north, to Langebaan in the south.

His memories of Durban include taking nurses from Addington Nurses' Home to the beach and riding on the rickshas. He said that, at Unsimgazi, crew members had to guard the flying boats at night and that a member of his crew over-imbibed in the mess on his duty night, missed the tender taking the crews out to the flying boats, and had to swim through the hippo and crocodile-infested lake to get to his post and avoid punishment.

On another occasion, a squadron member, who had also had too much to drink, took an ambulance for a joyride and drove it straight through Robert's tent. "Fortunately my tent was empty at the time," he said later.

The captions for the pictures below, were written out by Robert Page and faxed to me by his son Bruce. The fax included a letter received by Robert from a 35 Sqn. comrade Dudley Penney.

In the letter, Penney writes that he has different recollections from some of the incidents widely quoted about the squadron. One of the these was the accident that befell the first Sunderland (M) when being flown by the squadron OC Col. Danie du Toit.

He was practicing landings (known as circuits and splashes) on Lake Umsimgazi when a large hole was knocked in the fuselage. It was later said that the aircraft had hit a hippo but Penney's brother, actually witnessed the accident and declared that there no were logs or hippos in the landing area, and that the cause was too high a landing speed.

Another inaccuracy he remembered was that the pilot of the plane bringing Maj. General Evered Poole back from Egypt on the shuttle service after the war, was Captain B Millar and not P Miller as has often been quoted. Penney was the flight engineer on that trip.

Robert, third from left, with other members of the crew.
Underground magazine at Congella.
Doby Dales uses a lilly at the camp at Umsingazi.
Boating at Richards Bay.
Robert on leave in East London with his mother Sybil.
Robert, on extreme left,
Accomodation was very hot at Congella so they slept outdoors. Robert is second from left. It is believed that Wyndham Brown was the person on the extreme left.
Sunderland flying Boat at Congella.


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